by Tim Phillips
“Kids sometimes think computer science is boring and complicated, so why do it when they can play soccer?” Marta Gehring, the co-founder and CEO of TechSpark Academy, jokes. “My mission is to open their eyes.”
Based in Lausanne, TechSpark Academy’s mission is to expose students to coding in a fun, interactive way during school vacations. The Academy uses the best student instructors to spark their excitement and give them the skill they will need in the future. Last year’s students came away from it calling it “interesting”, “awesome”, “informative” and “cool”.
Marta, who is an innovation marketing consultant and a trainer for Switzerland’s Committee for Technological Innovation (CTI), was inspired to create TechSpark Academy after seeing her 14-year-old daughter’s attitude to coding transformed by a similar summer course in the US. “At first she said she didn’t want to go, but on the first day she came back and she was very excited. She had already programmed a turtle to crawl from one edge of the screen to the other, and she was even talking about computer code at dinner.”
Why attend a TechSpark Academy Camp?
The Academy’s Easter or summer camps in Lausanne or Geneva are some of the most inspiring fun kids can have while you’re learning. “By the second day the kids are beginning to program for themselves. For example, they can use a language called Swift to make a game, and then play it on their own iPhone,” Marta says, “or they can build robots, and program them to avoid obstacles.”
In a special drive to promote its birthday party packages for 2017, InterSoccer is offering knowitall.ch readers a special 10% discount on all birthday parties booked with them before the end of this month.
If your child loves football, this is a fantastic way to celebrate his/her birthday with a football/multisports/sports themed party...and save yourself a bit of money for extra presents as well!
Every InterSoccer birthday party kicks off with a fun warm-up session, followed by some exciting soccer games before the main event, the “InterSoccer Match”, where, depending on numbers, partygoers will be split into teams and take part in a fun-oriented mini tournament refereed by InterSoccer's qualified coaches.
However, the standard party package can be customised to suit the individual needs of the birthday child - so children aged 3 years can expect a slightly different format to older teens. If you would rather have a multi-sports theme, that is also possible.
Coerver Coaching Geneva – La Côte is offering knowitall.ch readers the chance to win a free place for their child on one of their popular football courses, worth Fr. 100.-!
If you haven’t heard of Coerver Coaching before, this is a global football coaching program that includes football camps and courses and which has been running for over 30 years. The method is endorsed by top clubs, coaches, and federations across the world – notably World Cup winners Vicente Del Bosque and Jurgen Klinsmann, and 11x Champions League winners, Real Madrid.
The method is unique in football coaching, with emphasis placed on players maximizing their touches of the ball. Sessions usually start with a ball mastery session, where players learn and progress at their own pace, practicing skills and techniques taught by the coaches. At camps, children benefit from watching the skills they have learnt throughout the day being performed on video by top players. The Coerver pyramid shows the development of players throughout the program and forms the basis of every training session. There are also adapted player pyramids for younger players and goalkeeping development.
If you have children, and they want to have fun, then here are some ideas that offer everything you need to keep them entertained, providing lots of activities, gifts, games, and decorations for their amusement!
** LUNA PARK (GE)
Plaine de Plainpalais, Geneva
Amusement park, outdoor, roller coasters and rides, food stalls, ghost-house, and more for kids and adults! Lots of food stands selling grilled sausages, fries, and sweets. Dress warmly and bring cash!
Click here to see the opening times over the holiday period.
** LE HAMEAU DU PERE NOEL (FRANCE)
610, rte d’Annecy-Jussy
0033/450 32 73 64
Discover the magical farm, garden, bathroom, and bedroom of Santa Claus! Even the elves apartment and workshop. Mrs. Claus has a story-time hour on the 1st floor. Mailbox to deposit your letters to Santa.
Some parks have some animals that would be pleased to have company during these grey days. A few are Jardin Botanique Geneva, Jardin Alpin in Meyrin, and Bois de la Bâtie Geneva. In Vaud make sure to visit Signal-de-Bougy, Zoo La Garenne (will be under renovation from February through mid-March), Zoo de Servion, Parc de Sauvabelin, and other Lausanne parks.
** ICE SKATING
Many villages and towns have their own temporary ice skating rinks on offer. Make sure to bring gloves! Skates can be rented on location.
Why not take in a movie?
** MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS
You know all the usual museums in the area by now, but the Ethnography Museum in Geneva with it's highly modern design should be on your to-do list. Dinosaurs are also very topical at the moment. There are 2 great exhibitions in Geneva, one at the Natural History Museum and the other at Palexpo, which finishes on 8 January 2017.
This document from the Ville de Genève has a great summary of exhibitions in Geneva until the end of the year (and some beyond), with short descriptions in English to give you a flavour of what is available.
If you want to keep track of Santa Claus/Father Christmas this month you must add this website (www.noradsanta.org) to your favorite’s list! On the 24th December check the website on a regular basis to see where Santa has been sighted. Your kids will bubble with excitement! Don't forget that there is still a lot to see on the website before Christmas.
Note: The website also has delightful stories about Santa, full explanations about how they do it (NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa - radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft), a countdown from now until Christmas eve, videos, games, and songs.
Based on historical data and more than 50 years of NORAD tracking information, we believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of children throughout the world.